Afghan-Pak border sanctuary for terror groups: Pentagon

WION New Delhi, India Jul 02, 2020, 06.16 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various terror groups. Representative image. Photograph:( Getty )

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Last month, a United Nations report said that about 6,500 Pakistanis as foreign terrorist fighters are present in Afghanistan including 1,000 belonging to Pakistan based terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The Pentagon or the US department of defence, in its report on Afghanistan, has said Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various terror groups.

These groups include al-Qa’ida Core (AQ), al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K). 

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The report said, "Terrorist sanctuaries on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border present security challenges for both countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan), pose a threat to regional security and stability, and threaten U.S. national security interests."

Highlighting US interest in Afghanistan, the report said, Washington wants to "ensure the country is never again used as a safe haven from which terrorists can attack the United States, or our Allies or interests abroad" and "accordingly, the primary U.S. Government objective in Afghanistan is to support the Afghan government's effort to obtain a durable political settlement that ends the war and mitigates terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan."

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The report also highlighted the "close ties" al-Qa’ida's regional affiliate—al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has maintained with Taliban. 

Last month a United Nations report said that about 6,500 Pakistanis as foreign terrorist fighters are present in Afghanistan including 1,000 belonging to Pakistan based terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Most of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters are co-located with Taliban fighters and are hand in glove with them, the report said.

The UN monitoring team in its annual technical update to United Nations Security Council said, "The number of foreign terrorist fighters in search of a purpose and livelihood in Afghanistan, including up to 6,500 Pakistanis, will render this a complex challenge, which will require careful monitoring.